Others on this group blog introduced themselves and their
perspectives, so it’s reasonable for me to add a few lines about myself.
Associating with others who don’t necessarily believe as I do is the
point of my being here and offering a perspective. That’s all the
motivation it takes.
Because I don’t crave any particular notoriety for my ideas and
think the “look mom, no hands!” approach to functioning in a public
forum is rather tasteless and jejeune, I’ve decided to remain
anonymous. The focus should stay off of me. I’m not trying to become a
personality. So this is the only time a post of mine will be littered
with references to myself, as distinguished from my opinions.
As political labels go, I consider myself a progressive. If there is
no generally understood meaning behind that label, all the better. I’m
disinclined to subordinate myself to any dogma and prefer to take
issues individually. The only overriding idea is that we should
progress — that is, improve — rather than regress.
That said, diatribes and scenarios about how it’s all going to ruin
and we all had it better back in those halcyon days tend to be right up
my alley. I recognize the fallacy of relying on a golden past that
wasn’t, after a bit of inspection, so golden after all. It’s a seductive
narrative frame, just as the opening scenes of movies tend to enter the
story at a point of calm and composure only to introduce conflict and
drama. Still, the cultural critic in me can’t escape the gnawing sense
that we’re poised on the brink of a new paradigm, and that the shift
from one way of life to another won’t be a pretty sight.
My values of civilized discourse boil down to two things: clarity and
respect. To respect one’s reader means to take the time necessary to
craft written English suffiently free of errors and elegantly enough
stated that one’s ideas have clarity and purpose. Few writers are truly
good at this; I’m learning just like everyone else. But I have little
patience for sloppiness in expression and will not hesitate to take
anyone to task over it. Respect is also something one affords one’s
interlocutors. I’ve grown out of the adolescent belief that opinions
contrary to or different from mine are by definition inferior. There is
a wide range of legitimate and good faith perspective out there, though
I must admit a good portion of it makes little or no sense to me.
Attitudes borne out of ignorance and intolerance won’t find any safe
haven with me, however. I’m not at all above swatting a few flies.